The scary stats
Only 75% of men wash their hands when they leave the bathroom. That means 25% don’t. The average toilet seat in an office block is washed hourly. The average desk is not. There are 400 times more germs on the average desk than there are on the average toilet seat. 40% of absenteeism is a result of minor illnesses.
The cross-contamination of germs is a proven cause of minor illnesses such as stomach bugs, colds and flu. Absenteeism costs South Africa betweenR3,5 billion and R6 billion a year – and this doesn’t even take lost productivity of individual businesses into account.
“We aren’t trying to create germophobes, but we do want people to be aware of the facts,” says Nthato Malope of the Kimberly Clark Healthy Workplace Project, which was recently launched in South Africa. Malope and his team will first test the germ penetration in an office, and then put various measures in place to minimise contamination. This will include sanitisers in ‘hot spots’ (areas everyone in the office touches) and educational programmes for employees. When the programme launched in the US, it was able to cut absenteeism by 45% in 17 weeks at a FedEx office with 500 employees.